Sunday, August 7, 2011

Introduction to Cross Platform Mobile development

With diversity of mobile platforms iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Phone 7, Meego, WebOS, Bada and many more, developers all around the world face incredible challenge to design and build mobile apps twhat run on all this platforms.

When you build an application for a mobile device you usually build it using the SDK specifically for that platform. This gives you a completely native look and feel, as well as full access to features specific to that device or operating system. Sometimes, however, you don't need full device access. Sometimes you might want code at a very high level using just web standards and be able to run the application on multiple OSes. This is similar to coding a mobile website, except that as an local application your app can launch faster, work offline, and have access to local resources.

PhoneGap is an open source, cross platform tool for writing code once that runs on multiple mobile platforms using just HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. It is not a full OS toolkit and does not provide GUI widgets or high level features. It's simply a common API and set of build tools that give you have uniform access to the browser and device services.

Phonegap only requires you to setup the right kind of development environment for the platform and you are ready. Obviously, when we are talking about native applications, the SDKs and other platforms requirements have to be met. Once, you write your first mobile application, you will also need the simulators to test it.

Features and Limitations of Phonegap:
The Phonegap website hosts a list of native features that it supports for each platform. What does this mean? Well, an HTML/JS based framework might be considered weak in terms of its capabilities to interact with hardware and native tools and APIs. Yes, Phonegap might not be best solution for every project but you can always have a glance at the supported features and convince yourself whether it suits your requirements.

Phonegap Build:
PhoneGap Build allows you to create cross-platform mobile apps based on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript through a simple web interface. It takes care of all the packaging and compilation, and you get some mobile apps back in a matter of minutes.

It is cloud-based service that that further simplifies the process by eliminating the dependencies on SDKs for development. You can write your HTML, CSS and JavaScript code and submit it to Phonegap Build service and they will compile and return the App Store ready application for different supported platforms

The 1.0 release of PhoneGap also features a new unifying bridge interface that makes adding platforms and platform extensions easier. Additionally, the plug-in development process has been simplified.

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About Mohammed Fouad:

Mohamed is currently an Iphone Developer at Symbyo Technologies. Mohamed’s past experience includes developing enterprise grade web applications in PHP5, Designing, maintaining and tuning complex relational database in MySQL 5 and Developing iPhone/Android applications using Phonegap and Appcelerator frameworks.